Camping is not just for spring, summer and fall. Camping in the winter can be beautiful and fun. Bears are hibernating, there are no itchy plants or insects, and the landscape can be dramatic whether there is snow or not.
Winter is cold, however, so you’ll need to make some special preparations to stay warm. Here are some tips for keeping cosy on your winter camping trip.
First, here is a list of some of the most important camping gear you’ll need for a winter camping trip.
- Wool or fleece hats, gloves, scarves, and thick socks are essential. Socks lined or coated with waterproof fabric are even better.
- Sleeping pads to put beneath your sleeping bags, made from foam or other insulating material
- Sleeping bags that will provide insulation to zero degrees
- Waterproof, insulated boots
- At least 2 tarps, one for the ground and one to make a shelter over your tent
- Skewers or stakes, sometimes called snow flukes, specially made for use in the snow
- Thermoses for hot drinks
- Camping stove with fuel (gathering dry firewood can be impossible in wet, snowy weather)
- Foods high in complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein – in that order
Tips for the Trip
- Don’t try to cover as much distance or pack in as many activities as you would during a warmer weather camping trip. It gets dark a lot earlier, so you will be making camp much earlier than in the summer. Also, getting the campsite set up will take longer due to the extra cold weather gear. Getting dressed in the morning will also take everyone a bit longer for the same reason.
- There’s an old saying among winter campers – cotton kills. Cotton is wonderful fabric for summer camping, but it is a very poor insulator, especially when wet. Make sure that any cotton clothing is covered by wool and/or waterproof clothing.
- Carry extra gloves and hats in case they get wet.
- Wrap water bottles in bubble wrap or slip each bottle into a wool sock to prevent freezing.
- Dress in layers that can be easily removed and put back on. If you begin to sweat, you will want to be able to remove a layer or two because excessive sweating in cold weather makes your body more susceptible to chilling (hypothermia).
- Remember to eat foods rich in whole grains, healthy fats, and protein even when you don’t feel that hungry. This diet is vital for your body to keep warm.
- Pack foods that have a low water content to prevent ruination from freezing and so they will be lighter to carry.
With a little preparation, you can enjoy an invigorating, beautiful winter camping trip.